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Michigan College Access Network names new Executive Director

October 17, 2019 - LANSING, Mich.−Ryan Fewins-Bliss has been named the next Executive Director of the Michigan College Access Network following a national search. Fewins-Bliss began serving as Interim Executive Director of MCAN in March 2019 and will start serving in the Executive Director role permanently beginning Nov. 1, 2019.

Fewins-Bliss replaces MCAN’s founding Executive Director, Brandy Johnson, who became Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Advisor on Postsecondary Attainment and Workforce Development in March. 

“Ryan’s lifelong commitment to college access and opportunity have made a world of difference in his previous work at MCAN,” said Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., chair of the MCAN board of directors and associate dean of college counseling at Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School. “We look forward to Ryan guiding us to new levels of service and achievement in the years to come. We’re thrilled to have him as our new Executive Director.” 

“I’ve been honored to work with Michigan College Access Network since the organization was launched in 2010,” said Fewins-Bliss. “I’ve had many roles at MCAN over time – consultant, part-time staffer, deputy director and am now pleased to continue serving this organization as its next leader.” 

During his tenure at MCAN, Fewins-Bliss designed and led the Local College Access Network (LCAN) strategy across the state, expanded and refined the AdviseMI College Adviser Program and amplified MCAN’s work to a national audience through Lumina Foundation’s Talent Hub designation. 

“With a new commitment to Sixty by 30, incredible partners and supportive elected officials, we are quickly launching into our next decade of work,” Fewins-Bliss said. “This is our collective opportunity to make sure Michigan is on the forefront of economic sustainability through workforce and talent development. I’m ready to continue MCAN’s leadership in rallying the state toward progress.” 


About Fewins-Bliss 

Most recently, Fewins-Bliss served as deputy director for community and partner mobilization at MCAN. In this role, he provided leadership to the nearly 30 Local College Access Networks in Michigan, specifically the use of the collective impact framework to increase postsecondary attainment rates in communities. He has managed millions of dollars in grants awarded to LCANs, high schools, colleges and non-profit organizations. Fewins-Bliss has also served as a national grantee coach and technical assistance provider through his work at Lumina Foundation.  

Prior to joining MCAN, Fewins-Bliss was an education and non-profit consultant and previously served at the Michigan Campus Compact and Saginaw Valley State University. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Central Michigan University. Fewins-Bliss is active in his community as the board treasurer of the Bath Township Public Library. 


About Michigan College Access Network 

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN has a mission to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students, and students of color. For the eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased—from 35.7% of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41% in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4% of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45% as of 2019. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by the year 2030. For more information, visit 

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This press release announces MCAN's new Executive Director, Ryan Fewins-Bliss.